Follow me on Twitter: @janemcintyre12



I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Tweeting. And meeting...?

Alpaca walks into a pub...`ve heard that one already?

So...try this one.

Morris Dancer walks into a coffee shop. ( No bells, no ribbons, no music). Sits alongside a sommelier (no wine, no glass, no corkscrew). Who`s opposite a former civil servant (no clipboard, no suit, no red tape ), directly opposite a businessman who`s also an engineer and a musician (no guitar, no oily overalls, no briefcase). He`s next to a young man with a secret. And just across the table from a former journalist (hello) who`s hopeless at keeping them.

Alright, so maybe as a joke, this has lost a little pace. It`s just a rough sketch, of a great hour, somewhere in Shrewsbury this morning. Six people from very different backgrounds, all of whom met on Twitter and decided to go for a brew.

Agenda? None. But top talking points were local arts (Kevin Tanner`s Wellington based and a great supporter of local events ). Also, the fast approaching day of music,The Big Busk, which hits Shrewsbury on April 5. Karen Paterson ( Samaritan, sommelier, and one fab lady) is one of the key organisers of that, and it was brilliant to hear how well the plans are going. Graydon, ex military, now Morris dancer is performing there with his team, too, just as they did last year. Also discussed: mental health issues--on everyone`s mind, for lots of different reasons, and from David, what it`s like running a theatre company, while having to dash off round the world on business trips

And that secret--in the hands of the youngest of the assembled six; a new recruit to Twitter? Well; it`s that Shrewsbury`s going to have a brand new performance venue. In a former Temperance Hall! And the guy they call @Johnnystars is helping to get it up and running. It`s a fascinating venture.

One hour; six people, all with a tale to tell ;none of whom would have met without Twitter. One of a series of Shropshire `tweet-ups` which are giving people the chance to see the face behind the avatar. Messages are great, and funny, and supportive, sometimes, but occasionally, it`s brilliant to get out from behind that little glass screen and meet the guys you tweet *in real life*. Today was a prime example.

Oh--and the Alpaca? He was a no show. He DM`d me, though. Hangover ;)

Monday 10 March 2014

Too personal: When marketing gets it wrong (and says sorry...)

Ever felt a marketing campaign hits you so closely, that you`re moved to buy the product? A skincare cream, maybe, that you `know` is going to make you look ten years younger? OK...maybe not. How about a car that was designed for your lifestyle--loads of room in the back; stylish as hell;  frugally low on fuel consumption...or that miracle kitchen cleaner that gets the job done in half the time. Allegedly.

Getting personal with marketing can, sometimes work, if you`re sent a mailshot, based on your purchasing history or consumer profile.

And then again, marketing a product or service with the personal touch can go so wrong.

So here`s my own `personal` message today, to Trainline.

Morning, guys.

I use your service a lot. I`m always leaping on trains for work, or to see friends and family. And, like most people, I love a bargain. I`ve tweeted about your Best Fare Finder section, often.

I know that Mother`s Day is approaching, and I don`t blame you for offering a few travel discounts around this time. And letting customers know with an email. You often use my first name when you mail me. It`s quite clever. And you did this time--with this wording:

`Jane, we`re not implying you forgot about mum. But just in case.....`

And that`s where the personal touch falls apart a bit.

You weren`t to know, of course, that I lost my precious mum more than 20 years ago, prematurely, from breast cancer, and that Mother`s Day can be a tricky time for me. But you should be able to guess that a fair proportion of the customers you`ve emailed with a similar message, have lost their mums, too, and so a `personal` hit feels a bit erm...inappropriate, and upsetting. All of us know that there are chocolates and cards and flowers on sale, and we wish everyone with a mum they can visit and hug on The Day, a lovely time.

But when you`re planning `personal` mailshots...sometimes, one size doesn`t `fit all`. And now I`ve had to spend ten minutes writing a blog about this to get it off my chest, instead of booking train tickets to Birmingham.On Trainline. Oh well.

Just feed that back to your marketing team, please.

Thanks. Nothing personal.

We're still embarrassed but definitely feel better that you've accepted our apology. Thanks and lesson learnt! Vikki